Embracing Everything Emma

Enjoying Life One Baby Step at a Time…

DIY Shirt August 23, 2012

Filed under: Embracing Everything Fashion — erinnlinkous @ 6:00 am

When I began the project to make Emma’s tutu for her birthday party, I was satisfied with a plain red shirt to go with it.  Certainly I wasn’t required to make another clothing item to go along with it, was I? As I looked at her outfit and envisioned it, I felt like I had only done it halfway. I couldn’t get past the fact that the bottom piece had so much work but into it and the top did not. Then and there I decided that I needed to make a top to go along with it. I also decided right then and there that I wasn’t going to spend three hours on this project, too. I have a birthday party to get ready for now!

To begin this project, you will need:

  • A onsie or tshirt (preferably no stripes/polka dots/etc)
  • A design printed on regular paper
  • Freezer paper
  • Acrylic paint
  • X-acto blade
  • Iron/ironing board

When I began the thought for this project, I was certain I was going to have to use the freezer. To my surprise, you do NOT need to use your freezer just because it’s freezer paper. Who knew? Not this girl. I watched this wonderful tutorial from I Am Momma, Hear Me Roar and it really helped me fill in the gaps that I had trouble finding in the written instructions. I am more of a “show me how” person rather than “tell me how”. I pulled out all my supplies and began my project. Here is how it went:

I had a plain, white short sleeve onsie that cost me .50. Not bad! I decided to go with something simple rather than a detailed design since Emma’s skirt was so detailed. I decided to put her name, Emma Grayce, on the shirt. I printed this off and it didn’t cost me anything. Well, maybe .01 but not much. The freezer paper I borrowed. Well, it was given to me. I have no intentions to return it. I have NEVER used freezer paper and hated to buy it for this one project. I have a wonderful friend who cooks and bakes regularly and I was certain she would have some. Sure enough, she did! She was kind enough to give me a foot of her freezer paper so I didn’t have to go out to the store. Plus, I hear it’s hard to find freezer paper anywhere other than Walmart. Gag me. The acrylic paint I had with my crafts along with my blade. As far as the iron and board, I have both of those. Do I use them? No. But I do have them.My total cost for this personalized shirt was .51. And the total time spent? You’ll have to join me to find out!

I sat down and began my tracing project with my x-acto blade. Seriously? This is nuts. I don’t have much patience so this really tested me. Having to trace a name and then cut out the little letters in the “a’s” and “e’s” was enough to drive me crazy. I almost had a meltdown doing just the first letter, so JR stepped in to help out. He did such a great job that I let him finish this part. Thank goodness for JR. Otherwise this post would have never happened. The good news is if you print your artwork in black ink, it will be very easy to see when you put the freezer paper on top of it. Also, make sure you your husband traces it with the shiny side down. Trust me, you’ll regret it later if you don’t.

After this step, I had to iron the freezer paper onto the shirt. I was a nervous wreck. I have never been one to be good at ironing, since I never iron. I watched this part of the video over and over again. This is where it’s important to remember which side to trace. The SHINY side goes down so the iron doesn’t touch it. The flat/matted side is up for the iron to touch. If you do it opposite you will have freezer paper stuck to your iron. For those of you who use your iron, this would surely be a bad thing. Keep in mind that you’ll need to replace your tiny fill in letters. I would wait to do this until AFTER you have ironed on the first part. Once it’s set and not budging, put the tiny pieces in place and press straight down with the iron. Lift up and do it again a couple of times. Then take a few extra moments to smooth over the entire piece of freezer paper with the iron. Better safe than sorry. Once you’ve felt the letters to make sure there are no loose spots, you’re good to paint. Oh, and did I mentioned shiny side down?

The next thing to do is to paint. Remember to put a piece of paper IN the shirt so your paint doesn’t bleed through it. It would be awful, especially if you use brown like me. No one wants pretend poop stains on the back of their daughter’s birthday shirt. You can also use multiple colors for this project. As stated before, I chose to use a plain brown color since her skirt was so detailed. Brown seemed to fit well against the white and stood out like I wanted it to do. Something I was going to do was paint from the paper onto the shirt. I saw this idea on the video. This way, the paintbrush wasn’t tempted to go underneath the paper and onto the shirt. My letters were so small that I decided to blot instead. It basically made sure the same thing didn’t happen. I would surely have lost my mind had I made it this far and had this mess up. Luckily, I did have extra shirts just in case. What I didn’t have was more time for my husband to trace more freezer paper. Thanks again baby!

The next part was simply taking time to wait for the paint to dry. It didn’t have to be perfect but needed to be dry enough. You don’t want to smudge your paint but you also don’t want it to stick once it’s dried completely. Such a touchy thing to do. I waited about five minutes and then took it off, with my fingers crossed. Thank goodness it did fine. Also, for the tiny pieces on top of the “a” and the “e” I used tweezers to pull them up. I didn’t want to accidentally smear those all over the shirt either.

The last step was touching up the shirt with a few final iron strokes over the finished shirt. This helps to give it a good, quick seal. I swiped my iron over it quickly, vowing to not use my iron again for the next year. I try not to use it more than I should, which is just about never. Have I mentioned I love the cleaners? If I’m ever in absolute need of a good ironing this is where I go. It doesn’t necessarily fit into my cheapo budget but sometimes a girls just got to set some boundaries. And ironing is where it is for me.

So that’s how you make a DIY shirt for your child. I have seen some amazing ideas on different websites that are a lot more detailed than mine. Maybe one day I’ll do something a little more extravagant. I’ll only do it if JR traces it. For me, sometimes patience is not a virtue. And it’s definitely not when it comes to tracing freezer paper.

Have you ever made a DIY shirt for your child? How did you do it and what did you do it for?

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5 Responses to “DIY Shirt”

  1. I love doing this with freezer paper! It makes a great gift. 🙂

  2. Lori Says:

    I so want to do this for the girls birthday! I keep wanting to buy those shirts that say I’m 1 or I’m 2 but to pay $7 or so for one shirt and I need two I just get irritated and can’t break down and do it. So, this will be my go to….if I can actually find everything I need here. Apparently Italians don’t do many crafts so we are extremely limited on what we can find even here on base. Fingers crossed we can find it all 🙂

  3. […] had an amazing day! She was able to wear and use the things I made for her last week- her tutu, her shirt, and her plate. It was precious to see these things put to use and although it cost me time, it […]


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